Dean's Message - CABNR is growing, changing, optimistic

Ron Pardini

As spring is approaching, we in CABNR are looking forward with a new and positive perspective. We have prepared a strategic plan that positions CABNR for the future by featuring the use of biotechnology and natural resource management to support agriculture and health in the Great Basin.
Our three departments - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB), Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences (NRES) and Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Science (ANVS) - are uniquely positioned to collectively solve current critical issues facing the Great Basin landscape and address future problems of feeding an increasing world population.
CABNR's future is on the rise as we have recently hired a ruminant (cattle, sheep, goats and deer) nutritionist, starting June 1. A nutritional epidemiologist search is also currently under way in ANVS. This position will contribute to the education of Nevadans for a healthy diet.
We have a search ongoing for three faculty in BMB dedicated to understanding the science and application of creating new plants that are resistant to Nevada's climate.
NRES is also searching for two soil scientists to replace retiring Dale Johnson and Wally Miller. These new hires will contribute expertise to our rangeland and agricultural research, education and outreach programs.
Finally, the college is searching for a new development officer. Hiring a development officer will help with rebuilding our college through fundraising efforts.
As we are looking forward, we are working on improving our agricultural sciences curriculum by increasing the offerings in the plant sciences as well as pursuing a farmer training partnership with the Urban Roots Garden Classrooms group, a nongovernment organization (NGO) that is dedicated to changing the way kids eat and learn.
Capitalizing on our field labs, we will be incorporating "hands on" farmer training learning experiences with the help of Urban Roots and High Desert Farming Initiative. In addition, discussions are ongoing with the NGO "Nevada Vines and Wines" to expand the wine-grape industry by elevating research on wine grapes by developing a commercial scale experimental vineyard and winery at Main Station. Main Station will also be the location for an expanded biofuel research program involving new varieties of canola, camelina, guar, and gumweed, as well as crop trials in hops and teff.
We are moving into an era of unprecedented collaborations between departments, colleges and other universities to streamline operations and create interdisciplinary teams to maximize our contributions in response to continuing budgetary constraints.
From developing new feedstocks that are drought tolerant and nutrient rich, to restoration of the Great Basin rangelands for environmentally sustainable agriculture and public use, to providing healthy lifestyle options, CABNR is now building new collaborations with faculty across multiple universities and with federal and state agencies, sharing expertise to solve problems.